Hare and the Tortoise

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
This lively retelling of the familiar Aesop fable is enriched with an array of unusual animals serving as spectators. A rambunctious hare trips over a tortoise and falls into a thorn bush. He begins degrading the tortoise as a crowd gathers. The tortoise ignores the insults coming his way and challenges the hare to a race. The animals select an okapi to be an unbiased referee and a date for the event is set. Some of the animals depicted throughout the book will be familiar to young readers, such as the polar bear, the hippopotamus, and the giraffe. They will also be introduced to unfamiliar animals, such as the bongo, the oryx, and the serval. A three-page "Key to the Animals" in the back of the book identifies the animals and provides basic information about them. Ward's realistic watercolor and gouache paintings enable readers to visualize the peculiar audience observing the race. Some of the animals are not shown in their entirety, which may prompt the use of encyclopedias and other reference books.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Ward uses this tale as a vehicle for her absorbing pictures of animals from around the world. The spare text allows the illustrations to tell the part of the story she's added: that the animals, who have come from far and wide to see the race, conspire to slow down the hare and let their considerate friend win. This change destroys Aesop's moral of perseverance and creates unwarranted sympathy for the hare. It also allows readers to concentrate on the conglomeration of creatures that Ward has assembled in the beautiful and scientifically precise ink-and-watercolor illustrations. The book is excellently designed, with a generous use of white space and large-type lines that literally bend to the motion in the pictures and the pacing of the story. The narrative is fluid, though the voice in the telling is not as strong as the voice in the paintings. Copious endnotes on the species depicted (as compared to the lack of any notes about the retelling) indicate that this is intended to be a visual treat for animal lovers, and not a book for those looking for Aesop.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
S Dove
In this age of satirical versions of fables and fairy tales, a straightforward, elegant, witty retelling of an old favorite such as "The Har and the Tortoise" comes as a particular pleasure. The focus of this large, spacious picture book is real animals, from the two title characters to the many that come to see the race. With black ink outlines mericulously delineating the creatures' fur and markings, Ward's water-color-and-gouache paintings show each animal as both warmly cuddly and realistic. In this version of the story, the very fast hare wreaks havoc with his tearing around. When he trips over the tortoise and tumbles into a thorny bush, he calls the tortoise slow-witted and stupid. "The tortoise did not say what he thought of the hare. Instead, he challenged th hare to a race." As always, the hare's overconfidence and recklessness cost him the win. The brief story, with its large, easy-to-see pictures, makes a fine story hour choice for younger children. For older ones, there's more fun at the back of the book. In tiny print, Ward provides a key and some chatty background information on ll the animals portrayed in the story, making the volume a treat that animal lovers can return to again and again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761309888
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.44 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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